Happy Art Workshop for Volunteers

Iki Iki volunteers and staff, Nikkei Home staff, volunteers and staff Steveston Japanese Cultural Centre and Tonari Gumi participated in a training program to help us include art in working with people living with dementia.

The workshop was led by Dr. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka (Dalia), who has created a program to help people like us who work in this field.  The premise of the workshop is built on that older adults and people living with dementia have the right to dignity, to be heard and to be valued, and we use visual arts as way to improve the quality of life. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. (Thomas Merton -1915-1968)

Did you know everyone is a poet? None of us knew, until Thursday Dec 11, 2014 when Dahlia had us create a poem. Using a list of words that our workshop participants listed to describe “Friendship”.  From those words, together we wrote a poem. This became the message in the greeting card that each participant created.  Creativity oozed from each person onto the design of the card. No two cards were the same inside and out. With a tiny amount of guidance and an abundant choice of materials, each person created a card.

What we discovered was that from the simplest of materials (paints from paint stores, old calendars, tissue papers, stickers, etc) , using stories, memories and themes, each person can create, unleashing the creativity that is with all of us.

Nikkei Seniors thanks everyone who participated, and acknowledges Vancouver Foundation, New Horizon’s Social Isolation, our donors and volunteers for their support.  All of this has led to partnerships, research, training and education, and we hope one day a home where our seniors can continue living in our community.

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